About the Knights
Thanks to the efforts of Father Michael J. McGivney, assistant pastor of St. Mary’s Church in New Haven and some of his parishioners, the Connecticut state legislature on March 29, 1882, officially chartered the Knights of Columbus as a fraternal benefit society. The Order is still true to its founding principles of charity, unity and fraternity.
The Knights was formed to render financial aid to members and their families. Mutual aid and assistance are offered to sick, disabled and needy members and their families. Social and intellectual fellowship is promoted among members and their families through educational, charitable, religious, social welfare, war relief and public relief works.
The history of the Order shows how the foresight of Father Michael J. McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is being investigated by the Vatican, brought about what has become the world's foremost Catholic fraternal benefit society. The Order has helped families obtain economic security and stability through its life insurance, annuity and long-term care programs, and has contributed time and energy worldwide to service in communities.
The Knights of Columbus has grown from several members in one council to more than 15,100 councils and 1.9 million members throughout the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Panama, the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, Cuba, Guatemala, Guam, Saipan, Lithuania, Ukraine, and South Korea.1
Our Four Core Principles
Charity - Our Catholic faith teaches us to “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Members of the Knights of Columbus show love for their neighbors by conducting food drives and donating the food to local soup kitchens and food pantries, by volunteering at Special Olympics, and by supporting, both spiritually and materially, mothers who choose life for their babies. Knights recognize that our mission, and our faith in God, compels us to action. There is no better way to experience love and compassion than by helping those in need, a call we answer every day.
Unity – None of us is as good as all of us. Members of the Knights of Columbus all know that – together – we can accomplish far more than any of us could individually. So we stick together…we support one another. That doesn’t mean that we always agree or that there is never a difference of opinion. It does mean that – as a Knight of Columbus – you can count on the support and encouragement of your brother Knights as you work to make life better in your parish and community.
Fraternity – The Venerable Michael J. McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus, in large part, to provide assistance to the widows and children left behind when the family breadwinner died – often prematurely. The Order’s top-rated insurance program continues to do this today, as do individual Knights, who last year gave more than 10 million hours of their time to assist sick and/or disabled members and their families. In the Knights of Columbus, we watch out for and take care of one another.
Patriotism – Members of the Knights of Columbus, be they Americans, Canadians, Mexicans, Cubans, Filipinos, Poles, or Dominicans, are patriotic citizens. We are proud of our devotion to God and country, and believe in standing up for both. Whether it’s in public or private, the Knights remind the world that Catholics support their nations and are amongst the greatest citizens.2
Knights of Columbus: World's Most Ethical Company
2014: The Knights of Columbus has been recognized by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent center of research promoting best practices in corporate ethics and governance, as a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company.
This is the first time that the Knights of Columbus has been honored with this award, which recognizes organizations that continue to raise the bar on ethical leadership and corporate behavior. World’s Most Ethical Company honorees understand the correlation between ethics, reputation and daily interactions with their brand and that the award belongs as much to their associates as it does to them.
The Knights is one of only two companies in the life insurance category honored this year. “The Knights of Columbus was founded more than 130 years ago to protect the financial future of Catholic families in the event of the tragic death of a breadwinner and to provide charity to those on the margins of society,” said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “Today, those same founding principles are at work in every aspect of our business, guiding our corporate governance, our professional agency force, our investments and our day-to-day business operations. It is this continued commitment to our foundational Catholic principles that is the key to our ethical, sustainable and successful business model.”
“The entire community of World’s Most Ethical Companies believes that customers, employees, investors and regulators place a high premium on trust and that ethics and good governance are key in earning it,” said Ethisphere Chief Executive Officer Timothy Erblich. “The Knights of Columbus joins an exclusive community committed to driving performance through leading business practices. We congratulate everyone at Knights of Columbus for this extraordinary achievement.”3
Knights of Columbus sets record for global charitable giving
The Knights of Columbus set a new all-time record last year for charitable donations and service hours with $175,079,192 in donations and more than 73.4 million hours of service. The numbers were announced at the closing session of the annual Organizational Meeting of State Deputies in New Haven.
“We are very proud of these Fraternal Survey numbers,” Supreme Knight Anderson said. “These are a clear indication that we are keeping faith with Father McGivney’s principle of charity and also of unity, not only among ourselves, but with those in need. This is what we call a charity that evangelizes. This is what makes Knights of Columbus different.”4
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